Zeder, Susan. Wiley and the Hairy Man. 37 pp. 5+ Wiley and his Mammy live in a house on the edge of a swamp. Wiley is afraid of the Hairy Man, who “got” Wiley’s father many years before. He wants to stay home and hide, but Mammy knows that he has to confront his fears if he ever wants to conquer them. They learn from Mammy’s conjuring book that anyone who can trick the Hairy Man three times will be free from his power forever. Wiley tricks the Hairy Man twice with his Mammy’s help, but the Hairy Man uses a spell to prevent Mammy from helping a third time. Thinking quickly, Wiley tricks the Hairy Man once more and is able to free his Mammy, defeat the Hairy Man, and conquer his fears. The writing, message, and theatricality of this play are all exceptional. The characters speak the dialect of the South, creating a world based in reality but filled with magic. The dialogue is clean, well paced, and very witty. The message that a child can overcome his/her fears is clear but not overbearing. The play uses a chorus of actors who serve as narrators, sound effects, set pieces, etc. Overall, this is an exciting and very entertaining piece of theater. This play uses a unit set and calls for a cast of eight: two men, a woman, and five of either gender. From: Swortzell, Lowell. Around the World in 21 Plays. Applause, 1997. ISBN 1-55783-370-2. $22.95. 690 pp. A Reviewed by Nathan F. Christensen
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